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Watch Out! You May Be Neglecting These 3 Areas of Your Body When You Work Out

If you always opt for the same old exercises at the gym, chances are you’re neglecting these three key muscle groups.

When it comes to muscle groups, some are “sexier” than others. The pecs. The deltoids and the biceps. The abs. You just don’t hear people talking about having defined ankle or foot muscles or an unshakeable posterior chain. The benefits of developing certain areas are less noticeable, at least where physical appearances are concerned.

While getting to the gym at all is commendable, focusing on those “sexy” areas at the expense of other muscle groups can actually lead to poor posture, stiffness, and injuries.

If you have your go-to toning and strengthening exercises—hello push-ups and crunches—it’s important to work on developing a well-rounded routine. The same goes for your time in the weight room—you should be expanding your horizons to look beyond shoulder and bench presses. Though it’s always intimidating to use a new machine or try an exercise you haven’t tried before, your musculoskeletal health depends on it.

Next time you head to the gym, make sure you’re working these three muscle groups:

1. The Neck

Yes, your neck has muscles, and yes, they need regular attention and toning. Thanks to computer posture, most people have dangerously weak necks. If you sit at a desk all day hunched over or slouching forward towards a screen, chances are your neck isn’t properly aligned, and your muscles are probably suffering as a result. This condition is so common there’s even a name for it: Computer Neck Syndrome.

To regain some mobility in your neck and upper back, use a wall to do some standing isometric neck work, which will help you to maintain your neck strength and posture. Good alignment is crucial. Keep your chin tucked and press the back of your head against the wall, with a pillow or mat as a buffer if the wall is too hard. Gradually walk your legs farther away from the wall. As your neck grows stronger, you can even use an exercise ball between your head and the wall.

2. Balance and feet exercises.

Should you care about having strong feet? Yes—especially if you want to avoid other lower-body injuries. When you have weak feet or poor balance, you’re risking ankle sprains, knee and hip pain, and plantar fasciitis, or heel pain. If you run, your feet need to be strong enough to adequately negotiate the terrain. When they’re not, you’re more likely to trip or fall. When you’re shaky on your feet as a result of poor balance, you’re forced to compensate by looking down at your feet, which can lead to spinal posture problems.

To improve balance and foot strength, use a bosu or a balance board in your routine. Balance work can be done barefoot. Try standing on one foot with your eyes closed to improve balance—it’s much harder than it sounds.

3. Wrists

Ah, the wrists. Though having weak wrists sounds quite dainty, it’s a common problem among bodybuilders. When you’re wrists are weak, it’s going to limit your ability deadlifting or doing pull-ups or push-ups. You can strengthen your wrists by switching up the position of your hand or the width between your grip when you’re using barbells or free weights. For instance, using a thicker bar when you bench press or doing bicep curls with your palm facing the ground can help you to develop strength in your wrist.

[Image via Getty]

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